Neutralism versus selectionism: Chargaff's second parity rule, revisited

Donald R. Forsdyke
2021 Genetica  
Of Chargaff's four "rules" on DNA base frequencies, the functional interpretation of his second parity rule (PR2) is the most contentious. Thermophile base compositions (GC%) were taken by Galtier and Lobry (1997) as favoring Sueoka's neutral PR2 hypothesis over Forsdyke's selective PR2 hypothesis, namely that mutations improving local within-species recombination efficiency had generated a genome-wide potential for the strands of duplex DNA to separate and initiate recombination through the
more » ... ssing" of the tips of stem-loops. However, following Chargaff's GC rule, base composition mainly reflects a species-specific, genome-wide, evolutionary pressure. GC% could not have consistently followed the dictates of temperature, since it plays fundamental roles in both sustaining species integrity and, through primarily neutral genome-wide mutation, fostering speciation. Evidence for a local within-species recombination-initiating role of base order was obtained with a novel technology that masked the contribution of base composition to nucleic acid folding energy. Forsdyke's results were consistent with his PR2 hypothesis, appeared to resolve some root problems in biology and provided a theoretical underpinning for alignment-free taxonomic analyses using relative oligonucleotide frequencies (k-mer analysis). Moreover, consistent with Chargaff's cluster rule, discovery of the thermoadaptive role of the "purine-loading" of open reading frames made less tenable the Galtier-Lobry anti-selectionist arguments.
doi:10.1007/s10709-021-00119-5 pmid:33880685 pmcid:PMC8057000 fatcat:3h4ise2wkjhrzdgzwhae3wsja4